How many rounds can an AK fire before it breaks down?

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

Ron from the Las Vegas gun range Battlefield Vegas, where, like many Vegas range’s they only allow their rental guns to be used, shared some thoughts on how different AK rifles fail after tens after thousands of rounds (the above photo shows 30 days worth of 7.62x39mm steel shot at their range, of which 80% would have been fired by AKs). Ron writes at

– The one thing I can say about the AK’s is that they hold up MUCH BETTER than the RPD’s. I thought for sure that RPD’s would last so much longer because of the milled receivers but the receivers only last about half the life (if that) of a Romanian WASR.

– Every single stamped receiver has suffered from a cracked trunion. This includes Saiga, Arsenal (Bulgarian), Norinco (Chinese), Arsenal (Russian stamped), WASR, Hungarian, Polish (vintage kits), Yugo (vintage and PAP-series) and new Polish (from Royal Tiger imports).

– We have every type of AK available to shoot except for Cuban, Vietnamese or North Korean.

– US (Century), Bulgarian and Chinese milled receivers have yet to fail.

– Stamped receivers split at the angle of the upper rail and the side wall. N-PAP’s have literally cracked in half perpendicular to the length of the rifle. The receivers cracked just posterior of the front trunion (between center bushing and the trunion).

– We have yet to shoot out a factory WASR barrel. The barrels on three of our C39’s started to keyhole and were pulled.

– We have WASR’s on the line that have lasted OVER two and half years and the barrels are NOT shot out and they continue to run. We installed new bolts to bring headspace back up to spec but they keep running.

– The Draco-C’s that we converted over three years ago are finally down to the last unit. Most have cracked trunions but one of the barrels right past the gas block literally cracked off. The portion of the barrel with the threads cracked right off while shooting. I will see if I still have pics on my phone.

– This may sound crazy but it’s fair to say that they finally suffer a catastrophic failure (cracked trunion) at 80,000-100,000 rounds. Also, we have WASR’s that have suffered a catastrophic failure and we just pull out the old trunion and barrel, grab one from a parts kit, re-rivet, re-barrel and get them up and running.

– The AK is the most reliable but after seeing how many have broken over the last two and half years on the range, it’s not the indestructible weapon everybody talks about (and I always thought it was). What makes is reliable is it’s simplicity. My guys clean/service 4-5 AK’s for every M4 or MP5. The Uzi it’s just as simple but you wouldn’t believe how often components of the top cover fail. We purchased 75 kits about a year ago and we have gone through so many top covers. We will lose an extractor here and there but not often enough to complain about.

– The three most popular rentals are the AK47, MP5 and Uzi. People want to shoot the AK because they are so popular from the news and movies but then want to shoot the Uzi because of the name and then finally shoot the MP5 because it’s so smooth and no recoil.

Read the full thread here.

Thanks to Jay for the tip.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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